Thursday, 1 June 2017

June 2010: fat is bad??


"Fat is Bad"? On the catwalk maybe, but when eating, fat is absolutely essential. Eating fat slows down absorption, so we don't get hungry so soon. It helps our bodies use vitamins A, D, E and K. It converts carotene to vitamin A and helps absorb minerals.
Fats are vital for our immune system, skin, vision and heart; they protect us from poison, blood clots and (unnecessary!) ageing, nourish our cells, bones and capillaries. They help children grow. And butter, for instance, contains fatty acids which protect against gastrointestinal infections, especially in the young and elderly.
It's not 'fat' which makes you fat: it's sugar, refined carbohydrates, and sitting still.

EAT: 
Veg: broad beans, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, new potatoes, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, mangetout, peas, radish, spinach, spring onions, spring greens, watercress, turnips, rhubarb, redcurrants, strawberries and gooseberries.
Meat: lamb and wood pigeon.
Fish: grey mullet is at its best between June and August. Oily and with a firm texture, it is perfect to barbecue, steam, bake or roast. It's good stuffed either with fennel, mushrooms and garlic and doused in olive oil, or with other strongly flavoured herbs, such as rosemary and thyme.

SOW: beetroot, calabrese, french/runner beans, kale, carrots, cauliflower (mini only), salad onions, (sugar) peas, radish, kohlrabi, mooli, turnip, courgettes, marrows and pumpkins.
Sow swede and sweetcorn in early June; Florence fennel is best sown before the 21st. If the soil is above 25C, sow crisphead, cos or little Gem only: butterheads germinate poorly.

PLANT OUT:
courgettes, cabbage, sprouting broccoli, sprouts, celery, celeriac, ridge cucumbers, runner/french beans, leeks, marrows, pumpkins, tomatoes, sweet corn.

To help bumblebees, leave part of your lawn uncut during summer. Don't mow between late June and early August, and it will burst into flower with clovers and birds-foot trefoil. It needn't look untidy - make it an interesting shape and border with a mown path, so you can enjoy watching your bumblebees foraging away.
When you finally cut in August, remove the clippings: this will allow fertility to drop naturally, and encourage wildflowers to flourish, as they prefer poor soil.

RECIPES:
Elderflowers (like the berries) should not be eaten raw, but they're lovely in cooking: add handfuls to a sponge cake recipe, muffins or pancakes. Or make fritters:

ELDERFLOWER FRITTERS
  • 200g plain flour
  • 250ml milk
  • egg
  • elderflowers: 2-3 per person with bit of stalk to hold onto
  • 50g sugar
Mix everything but the flowers. Heat oil in pan/deep fryer, dip flowers in batter and fry.

BROAD BEAN SALAD
  • 150g rocket (or young spinach)
  • 10 radishes
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 cup shelled broad beans
  • 150g lettuce leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • tblsp cider vinegar/white wine vinegar
  • 1 level tsp mustard
  • ½ tsp honey/sugar. 
Cook beans about 5 minutes depending on size. Tear leaves into fork-sized pieces, arrange on plate. Chop radishes, arrange on top. Wash tomatoes, cut in half. Drain beans, let cool, add to salad. Mix dressing ingredients (easiest in screw-top jar). Pour dressing on top.

PIGEON CASSEROLE
Place birds in casserole to which has been added half an onion, mace (or nutmeg), salt, pepper. Cover with water. Place in slow oven (best is overnight cooking on lowest control) and the birds, no matter what their age, will be tender. With chips/roast potatoes and peas.
Or this is what the recipe says: however, not having a slow cooker, only a Rayburn which I don't like having on for too long in summer, I can't check. So I bought pigeon breasts and cooked them as follows: bring stock to the boil, add soy sauce till stock goes dark. Put in breasts, simmer for 10-15 mins. Have cold with salad or hot with potatoes to soak up the gravy.

PEAS WITH BABY ONIONS:

Lovely with fresh peas, but frozen will do. Baby onions (new season) taste best, and you can use them whole. Serves 4.
  • 200g baby onions/shallots/large-bulbed spring onions
  • peas for 4
  • 100ml double cream/creme fraiche
  • 1 dessertspoon cornflour
  • 1 tsp honey if using larger peas
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • tblsp olive oil. 
Peel onions, trim the roots. Leave whole if small, or chop in half. Gently heat oil and saute for 10 minutes. Add peas and 50ml water. Cover and steam for 5 minutes, or until onions soft. Mix the cream/creme, nutmeg (and honey). Remove pea-onion mix from heat and add the cream sauce. Mix, season. Serve warm.
Use the grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon, instead of the nutmeg, for a tangier flavour.

WEBSITES:
At http://eatseasonably.co.uk/what-to-eat-now you find an interactive calendar which tells you what to eat, when (with recipes if wanted), and even has a poster to download and stick on your fridge.
But, unless you grow your own, the best way to eat what's seasonal is getting a veg box (www.vegbox/). For good local shops see www.bigbarn.co.uk.
For gardening: www.gardenorganic.org.uk/ and http://eatseasonably.co.uk/
Re fat: see www.enableyourhealth.com/margarine.html and www.draxe.com/health-articles/2009/8/25/why-butter-is-better.html. And if you can (still) get it: I found http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06ltb5d extremely interesting!